When God Goes, Anything Goes
G. K. Chesterton once said, “When people stop believing in God, they don’t believe in nothing — they believe in anything.” That seems to be backed up by two recent stories.
Live Science reported on a poll by a British newspaper that found more people believe in aliens and ghosts than believe in God. Unscientific as that poll was, it was corroborated by another poll in 2006 that found more graduate students than freshman believed in paranormal subjects like astrology and communication with the dead. Presumably this includes students who took freshman biology at least once before entering grad school.
One Baylor researcher commented that belief in the paranormal seems constant even though the subject matter changes. But reporter Robert Roy Britt also quoted Rod Stark, another Baylor professor, who stated a somewhat counterintuitive finding: that belief in God and the paranormal are not linked. “Paranormal beliefs are very strongly negatively related to religious belief,” he said. Why? Britt noted that religious believers are often discouraged from buying into paranormal claims; “indeed most devout practitioners of a religion have been shown to be the least likely to believe in Bigfoot, ghosts or aliens.”
A tragic story was told by World Net Daily about a grieving father who believes his son’s suicide was triggered by reading The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. The 22-year-old student had been challenged in biology class by his teacher and fellow students for his Christian beliefs. “They didn’t like him as a Republican, as a Christian, and as a conservative who believed in intelligent design,” the father said. The professor assigned him to read the atheist polemic by Dawkins. “After Jesse’s death, Keith Kilgore learned of the book assignment from two of his son’s friends and a relative,” the short article explained. “He searched Jesse’s room and found the book under the mattress with his son’s bookmark on the last page.”
You know, of course, that Dawkins is not only the principal atheist preacher today, but also a Darwin-worshiper unmatched in devotion to the bearded Buddha. We hope the importance of Creation-Evolution Headlines has become more abundantly clear by these episodes. Ideas have consequences. That not only means that bad ideas have bad consequences; it also means that the good consequences of good ideas can be diverted to folly or lost altogether if not defended.